Tuesday, 5 October 2010


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Having dealt with the pre-pioneers very briefly, let us now turn to the events leading up to the occupation of Rhodesia, and later Manicaland.

It was in 1838 when the pre-pioneers (as mentioned in the previous chapter) mere exploring the interior, which was known as Manica, that Lobengula, the usurper king of the Matabele, signed the Rudd concession granting them exclusive rights to the territory' mineral resources.

Rudd, Thompson and Maguire were sent up expressly for this purpose. Owing to the dangerous situation the party encountered it became necessary for Dr. Jameson, who had Lobengula's confidence, to hasten to Bulawayo and use his extensive influence on behalf of the concession. With the incorporation of the British South Africa Company in the following year the modern history of Rhodesia may be said to have begun.

Northern and Southern Rhodesia were known in 1886 as Northern and Southern Zambesia, and afterwards for a short period as Charterland. The title "Rhodesia" was given with Imperial sanction in 1895. The two provinces of Southern Rhodesia were known as Matabeleland and Mashonaland; Matabeleland after Matabele, an off short of the Zulus, who under Mzilikazi were driven across the Limpopo by the Boers in about 1837; Mashonaland, according to Selous, was a coined word intended as a genuine title for all tribes of South-east Africa not of Zulu blood.

The whole of Zambesia was proclaimed a British sphere of influence on the 20th July, 1888. At this time Cecil Rhodes realized that the Portuguese, after previous failures to penetrate Central Africa, were now determined to enlarge their own possessions, therefore they had designs on what is now known as Manicaland. This, in its way, stimulated Cecil Rhodes great idea to secure as much of Africa as possible for Great Britain, and here was his opportunity.

And so the Pioneer Corps left for the north on the 10th April, made up of one hundred and eighty men picked for their suitability for the task of founding a new colony. The Command was taken by Major (later Colonel) Johnson, and the company Commanders were Major Heany and Messrs Hoste and J. Roach, arriving at Fort Salisbury on the 12th September 1890..

As the Rudd concession referred solely to mineral rights, the company secured a concession, obtained from Lobengula by Mr. Edward Lippert, which cave them the power to grant land titles. Other commissions were purchased by the company from various chiefs in Northern and Southern Rhodesia.

Before the Pioneers reached Salisbury, the British Administrator (Mr. Colquhoun) accompanied by Selous, Harrison, Campbell and ten police, hurried to Umtassa's kraal to obtain mineral rights in his country.

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They were pleased and well satisfied when the chief granted the Chartered Company the mineral rights in his country.

This naturally disturbed the Portuguese considerably, and was the cause of strain and tension between the two peoples. It is interesting to note that on the disbanding of the Pioneers in Salisbury Lieutenant Colonel Frank Johnson's contact with Rhodes expired. Rhodes had financed the Pioneer Column corps. Having completed his duties Johnson handed over his responsibilities to the British South African Company. So after his arrival in Salisbury he was once again a free man.

It seems that in spite of his trials and troubles there was no satisfying him; there still remained that adventurous spirit. He was determined to explore a shorter route to the East Coast, as he considered the present entry from South Africa not at all accessible, much too long and costly. Therefore Johnson decided to explore for himself an alternative route to the coast.

When Jameson heard of Johnson's exploits and that he was advertising for a young man to undertake the journey with him, Jameson decided to accompany him. Johnson refused but Jameson would not take "no" for on answer, much to Johnson's dissatisfaction as he required someone more experienced. Eventually they packed one of the' transport wagons with a boat which was evidently brought up by the pioneers, made up in four sections, thus enabling it to be carried when necessary. Added to this was all the equipment and stores for such an arduous journey. The wagon, drawn by oxen, was sent on ahead, accompanied by Morris, Human and Jack, a Zulu boy who could speak the Zulu language and the dialect spoken by Gungunyana's people. Johnson and Jameson followed on, travelling with seven horses, five days later.

It seems they were the first couple of pioneers to reach Manicaland from Salisbury as they had to follow the spoor of their wagon preceding them. It took three days to reach the country around Marandellas, and here Johnson states that the natives had never previously seen either a white man or a horse, and seemed more interested in the latter than in them. The game was more plentiful than around Salisbury, but all Johnson managed to shoot was a half grown wild pig; their appetites were somewhat unsatisfied with short rations. They sat before a fire cutting off bits of pig and grilling them. Jameson's main grievance was that his digestion in no way equalled that of Johnson's! They had great difficulty in following the spoor of the wagon as it had been obliterated, which necessitated frequent halts to explore and to pick up the trail again.

Jameson and Johnson rejoiced when they reached the mouth of the Penhalonga Valley and overtook their wagon near a small mining camp on the Bartissol, worked by Englishmen with a Portuguese Licence. These prospectors had come in from Chiloane Island up the Buzi River to Fort Massi-Kessi, and were surely the most surprised men in Africa when a bullock wagon suddenly turned up out of the blue! They had heard nothing of the occupation of the interior by the Charter Company. This episode indicates that there were no roads or tracks from Salisbury, and the mine in Penhalonga was quite isolated from the rest of the country. The miners knew nothing about the Pioneer Column's arrival.

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There was no Fort Hill at that time, and Jameson and Johnson must have been the first Pioneers to arrive in that area from Salisbury.

Morris and Human, in charge of the wagon, had spent several days trying to find a possible route for their vehicle to descend the steep mountain side. They had concluded that, without weeks of heavy work, it was impossible to got the wagon over the range. However,. Jameson and Johnson proceeded to Macequece, where they encountered a very suspicious Baron Rezende, the Governor. Reluctantly, he gave them permission to continue their journey, but stipulated that they travel at their own risk, and refused to give them any assistance whatever, on account of the occupation of the hinterland, south of the Zambezi, a region that for nearly eight hundred years Portugal herself had claimed.

Having obtained permission to proceed, Johnson and Jameson returned to the mine, which was named after the Baron, and again contacted their mining friend, whose name Johnson did not record. But a year later the same man accompanied Jameson when he made his great journey down to Gungunyana's kraal. So it may have been either Dennis Doyle or Dunbar Moodie.

The Manager of the mine sent his own boys to surrounding kraals and returned with thirty carriers. It required four boys to carry each section of the-boat on bamboo poles. The remaining carriers carried the masts, sails, Oars and the boxes containing a good supply of provisions. They parted regretfully with Human and Morris who wished to go with them, but it was not possible. So they in spanned and commenced their return journey to Salisbury. Johnson and Jameson eventually reached their destination, the sea, and when Johnson arrived there, in a bewildered way he remarked, "He did not know what to do with it". They had encountered great difficulties a journey which very nearly ended their lives. It was only by the mercy of God that they ever reached their goal.

It was two months after the pioneers arrived that the situation between the Portuguese and the British became serious.

A small force of police and pioneers, commanded by Major Patrick Forbes, was sent to Umtassa, as he required protection. A Portuguese force of about two hundred armed natives arrived on the scene led by a noted explorer, Colonel Palve D'Anrada and a Goanese named Gouveia, who ruled the province of Gorongosa. . Forbes, realising that his party was too small, had to bide his time, and so awaited reinforcements. . When these arrived he secretly and cautiously entered Umtassa's kraal, and took the Portuguese leaders by surprise, and to their amazement arrested them. Being encouraged by their success Forbes, with eight men, then proceeded to capture as much of the Portuguese country as possible. Without difficulty they took the fort of Massi-Kessi as well as the surrounding area, including several machine guns and the Portuguese Standard. After this they endeavoured to increase their gains by continuing as far as the coast, and were only one day's march from the port, when Colquhoun put a stop to their activities. He dispatched a trooper to recall them. Forbes was bitterly disappointed. It was just as well, as Forbes and his men were completely exhausted, their boots worn out and Forbes himself was suffering from malaria. Soon after this episode the Portuguese re-occupied Massi-Kessi fort.

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At about this time - 1891 - the Pioneer column was disbanded. According to Mr. Tulloch's statement, after being disbanded, he travelled to Umtassa's kraal, and happened to meet Major Forbes party on their way back from Massi-Kessi. Mr. Tulloch proceeded to the valley (Penhalonga) where sixty men had gathered, undecided whether to remain in Manicaland or not. However, after a week, all but eleven drifted back to Salisbury.

After staking his claims, Mr. Tulloch heard that women were permitted to enter the colony. He returned to Salisbury to fetch his wife, and so it was that Mrs. Sandy Tulloch was one of the first women to arrive in Manicaland.

Following this, thirty five police and fifteen volunteers from the Pioneer column arrived and took up a position under Captain (later Sir Melville) Heyman, on a hill overlooking the Fort. (This fort was at the junction of the Sambi and Umtara Rivers on a rise in what is now known as Penhalonga Valley.) One day, Captain Heyman saw some well dressed Portuguese officials arriving, which proved to be a deputation. Actually they were spying out the land. Captain Heyman immediately gave instructions to most of his men to hide themselves. On seeing only a few men about, the Portuguese officers ordered Captain Heyman to leave Manica, otherwise he would be driven out. When the Portuguese eventually attacked the position they received a very unpleasant surprise.

It is worth noting that all the names of the fifteen volunteers are not recorded, but according to Mr. R.S. Fairbridge, who was present, the names were Tulloch, Palmer, Crawford, MacLachlan, Russell, Pike, Cripps, Maritz and others.

After this episode Captain Heyman promptly marched on Massi-Kessi, from what was then known as the Charter Company Camp at Umtali, a distance of about eighteen miles, with forty five men, thirty seven of these being troopers, and the remainder volunteers. The gun-team had great difficulty in getting a seven pounder gun over the Pass, which is now known as Christmas Pass. They had not only to traverse Christmas Pass but had to drag the gun through swamps, reeds, scrub and heavy timbered country. This laborious task took three days. In the meantime Heyman's small force was on the way to Massi-Kessi, via Penhalonga Valley. However, eventually, after contacting the gun crew, they arrived at their destination. The police hurriedly made a trench about one foot deep and less than one hundred feet long, in the centre of which the seven pounder was placed with its barrel exposed high up above the six inch parapet. The Portuguese advanced at the double, in two columns, and could be plainly seen, as they wore white uniforms. "The effect was picturesque" wrote Mr. Tulloch. At six hundred yards the Portuguese deployed into a line and opened fire. The seven pounder retaliated whilst the police and Pioneers delayed their attack, waiting for the enemy to get within range, and then pounded them heavily with their Martini Henry's. A black smoke screen, caused by the black powdered cartridges used by the police and Pioneers, enveloped them, confusing them, but deflected the enemy's fire, the only advantage being that casualties on the Pioneer side were small.

After rapid fire on both sides, all the ammunition was expended, and the Portuguese decided that, the inside of the stone wall of the fort was preferable to the exposed slopes, and took up their new position at the double, only the officers pluckily proceeded at a slow walk. Just as they topped the rise they

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emphasised their national politeness by doffing their helmets and bowing towards their opponents! The quantity of shells available for the seven pounder was twelve, and eleven had been fired, and as the rearguard of the enemy had disappeared into the fort, the gunner, named Finch, said to the Officer Commanding, "Let's see how the old geezer will behave with the last shell". Screwing up the elevation to its maximum he let fly. Light was fading so they could not see what happened, but it was that last shell that won Manicaland for the British Empire, for miraculously it fell plump right in the middle of the fort. Afterward they learned that the Portuguese army, demoralised, yelled, "They have got our range", and promptly took the path back to the sea. The next day, not knowing what was taking place, a patrol was sent out, and found the remains of the shell and the garrison of four hundred men, consisting mainly of native levies, they were unable to stand the strain, as many of them had been killed by the blast of that last shell. They evidently broke away and fled, leaving the fort cluttered with debris. The machine guns were left untouched. The luggage was strewn everywhere, leaving behind a good supply of medical equipment in their wake.

Captain Heyman's gallant band of half starved policemen and volunteers was not capable of following on the attack, and as Mr. Fairbridge remarked, "In their state of complete exhaustion could not have pursued anything swifter than a tortoise!". One Captain and four troopers actually did start with the intention of achieving the impossible which was to capture Beira, the seat of Government, as well as two hundred miles of intervening territory. It was just as well the British Government had sent an envoy post haste to intercept them. Reluctantly they returned to help transport provisions back to Fort Umtali, where they were urgently needed. Umtassa provided carriers for a specific reason, half the loot eventually arrived at its destination; the guns were afterwards sent to Rhodes at Groote Schuur.' However, 'all's well that ends well. It seems that Dr. Jameson and his two companions, Mr. Dennis Doyle and a linguist, Mr. Dunbar Moodie, of whom we shall hear more in the future, walked all the way from Salisbury to Gazaland to interview Gungunyana, whose domain extended from the Limpopo to the Portuguese area, to obtain the Mineral Concessions.

After a gruelling, eleven days,' when Jameson and his companions reached their destination, they found a Dr. Schultz, a missionary and an emissary of the Portuguese. They were determined to obtain all concessions for themselves and Dr. Schultz opposed their attempts. In view of this Dr, Jameson sent to Rhodes for advice. Rhodes asked Dr. Jameson to go to Gungunyana's kraal and see what could be done about it. Unfortunately all this took place during the rainy season which was a bad time to travel, and although Jameson was loath to undertake Rhodes' instruction he decided to carry on. Soon after starting Doyle went down with malaria and Jameson and Moodie had to help him along. Then Moodie contracted the same malady, and Jameson become very concerned when he, himself, went down with fever, Yet they were obliged to pursue their under- taking in a wild country, through dense forests and undergrowth which tore their clothing and sapped their strength. To add to these discomforts they lost their food supplies whilst crossing a flooded river. In spite of all this the men persevered and, after a hard struggle, reached Gungunyana's kraal two months after leaving Salisbury, a great credit to those determined men which should

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never be forgotten, as they did not consider themselves but did everything possible to carry out their duties. The severe hard ships undermined Dr. Jameson's health and he never really recovered from this journey. However, he succeeded in winning Gungunyana's support for the British side and Gungunyana also offered Rhodes control over part of the seaboard, due to Dr. Jameson's influence. Hearing of the arrival of the British South Africa Company in Mashonaland and their subsequent chock on the Portuguese, Gungunyana expressed a wish to come under the protection of the British Government. Had this been adopted Rhodesia would not have been a land-locked country to-day.

In 1889 Cecil Rhodes instructed Mr. Dennis Doyle, Mr. Will Longden and a trooper named Harrison to accompany them to visit Gungunyana and ascertain if the preliminary arrangements were satisfactory. Gungunyana had agreed to grant the Mineral Concession Rights to the Company in return for one thousand Martini Henry rifles and twenty thousand rounds of ammunition, plus an annual cash subsidy. It was also arranged that Mr. Dennis Doyle should take to England a special deputation of indunas to satisfy the British Government that the agreement was acceptable. In 1891, after a most adventurous trip with tho indunas to England, Messrs. Doyle and W.H. Longden, with a police trooper, escorted the indunas back to Gungunyana to finalise the agreement. It is well to note that very few Europeans had over visited the country and there were at that time neither missionaries nor hunters in Gazaland, as that area of the country was then unknown. A few Arabs came up the river to trade with the natives who populated the whole territory. They were rich in cattle and grain, but the Arabs preferred to barter for slaves, and did a good business in that line with the consent of the Portuguese authorities, whose territory they passed through. Doyle and Mr. Longden and the policeman arrived at the fringe of the King's kraal with two indunas, after a long and tedious journey. The kraal was named Manhlagazi (Power of Blood). Sending greetings and presents to the king at first nothing happened, but after a few days messengers arrived with presents and greetings. Eventually they were summoned and the white men were guided to the Indaba Tree where the king usually sat. Mr. Longden described him as a big, broad-shouldered man, sadly run to superfluous flesh, with sagging breasts and heavy stomach. Round his waist was a belt composed entirely, of leopards' tails. His features were Zulu, with shrewd eyes, his body dark bronze rather than black; he wore a wine coloured waistcoat with its inside lining outside and the pockets against his body. The first induna, Hulohule, was ordered to give an account of his journey. Both Doyle and Longden, being fluent in the Zulu language, were able to follow him in detail. He spoke at length of the strange experiences of the indunas in England:

"The sea, for instance, was water - water, nothing but restless water from horizon to horizon. They travelled in a great ship and were afraid because there was no road in sight, and no place where they could tie up for the night. It was a terrifying' experience. At night the water became black all around, and above only stars could bo seen. When we arrived in England we saw nothing but houses, so many that they were touching each other. In some places no room for more, so they built on top of one another! We were taken up in the air in a basket in spanned to a vary large ball, which pulled us up and saw things with the eyes of a bird. The white man asked me to

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speak in a box that had a mouth, and I spoke and behold the mouth uttered the very words back to me in my own language. It was indeed "Umtagati" (bewitched)". (Doyle, who had seen the episode, remarked that when he heard his own language being repeated in Zulu the old chap nearly fainted.) A carriage with smooth rubber tyres that ran smoothly on flat stoned roads, and drawn by smartly groomed horses, astonished him. It was the climax of the whole colourful trip. After this Gungunyana remained in silence in a dignified way, hiding his feelings and then turned to Doyle, and with an air of finality ordered: "You must bring me a carriage like that", then turned to the other induna: "You speak". Planyon described everything in the same way. To everyone's amusement he lay on his back in the dust with his feet in the air and demonstrated a display given by acrobats. How a ladder was balanced on the acrobat's feet and men just climbed up and down like monkeys on a tree. Gungunyana was not impressed. His mind was evidently on the carriage he had ordered, and was going to ride in, in order to impress his subjects.

One day a contingent of Portuguese arrived and wished to establish posts in Gungunyana's territory. Gungunyana felt he was in a strong position with the British South Africa Company, and therefore with the British Government. Afterward the Portuguese had long talks with the king, trying their best to impress Gungunyana they produced a Portuguese flag which they requested might be hoisted as a sign of a friendly gesture. Gungunyana listened politely without saying a word, watching them with his shrewd eyes, he replied: "I hear you are building stone wall forts. Now you come with soldiers and gold band decorations. Look at my friends the Ingles, they come as friends, they do not come as soldiers". He then stood up, a dignified figure in spite of his fleshiness, pointing to the Portuguese flag he said: "Take that flag and fly to your own country". Doyle took full advantage of the situation and carefully timed his requests to the now acquiescent king. For instance, one day the king wished to see the horses displayed, as horses were unknown in that part of the world, and his followers had never seen, such an animal. After the horses had shown off their paces, the king turned to one of his indunas: "Go get on the horse" he ordered. Not daring to refuse, the induna was hoisted on the horse's back, and sat there terrified, with the reins dangling on the horse's nock. With a smack from Doyle the horse trotted off, and the induna was bumped off. This caused great amusement to Gungunyana and the group of spectators. Then the royal glance fell on another induna: "Now, you get on the horse and show us what you can do". The result was the same and was repeated until the king had had enough. He took a great fancy to the horses and demanded that he be given them. Doyle consented, rather than upset him.

Friendly though Gungunyana was to the Company's representatives and the British Government, whose protection he openly sought, he was not inclined to give consideration easily, or to speak of the reward he had received. After Doyle had been at the "Great Place" for a short while, he became seriously ill. Recurring bouts of fever brought on Blackwater, of which little was known in those days, and so it was necessary to get him back to the coast without delay. Doyle was laid on a stretcher and carried by relays of Africans on the long trek to Delagoa Bay. Longden and Harrison were obliged to walk, having no horses. With Doyle safely on board after a long, tiring, anxious journey, Longden managed to obtain another horse and return to Manhlagazi, in accordance with instructions from Rhodes.

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He was appointed a British South Africa Company's representative, and remained there eight long months all on his own, before being recalled.

About a month or two after Johnson's and Jameson's return, some two hundred Charter Company police encamped at the old Fort near Penhalonga, and a number of the disbanded men of the column were settling down at the new site, which they called Umtali (Old).

At that time malaria was rife and there were no hospitals in existence and conditions were appalling. Owing to the rich mines, Rezende and Penhalonga previously mentioned, prospectors were now very active in this part. They had pegged all along the Sambi and Umtara rivers right down the Divide, in what is now known as the Penhalonga Valley, up to the occupied part. One prospector had gone so far as to dig for gold in the street in front of the camp!

The Camp Mess at the Fort seems to have witnessed some odd scenes, "What's your name?" enquired one of the police of a visitor, The rather terse reply was: "Damn", then the comment "I'm thirsty!" "That's not the way to behave here" was the retort. "Before I can serve you with a drink I must know your name". "Damn" the man repeated, adding a few more unholy adjectives, "No drink for you unless you conform to tho regulations" warned the indignant member of the force, "Damn" emphasised the now rattled prospector for the third time. The man, refusing to be insulted by an old disreputable prospector, tried to push him out, A fight ensued, "Hold on" cried a sergeant as he entered the room, "What's up?" "This fellow refuses to give his name and only curses, saying 'Damn'", "I know him. His name is George Damn, as a matter of fact". There was instant laughter and all was forgiven.

Much to the surprise of the sparse population three nurses arrived unexpectedly. They were even more amazed when they were told that these women had walked one hundred and forty miles from M'Pandas Kraal on the Pungwe River, arriving at Sabi-Ophir Hill, Penhalonga on 1st July 1891. Their promised transport did not arrive. There is scarcely an account of the early days which does not mention these women with affection and admiration. They were nurses Blennerhasset, Sleeman and Welby. The arrangements to proceed to Rhodesia from South Africa had been made by Bishop Knight Bruce, who had accepted the charge of the missionary diocese of Mashonaland, The nurses only European companions had been two young Englishmen who were ignorant of the native language and absolutely new to the country. On the last stages of their journey the carriers deserted them, and one man was left behind to guard the luggage which was retrieved later). The nurses remarked: "It was a freak of chance that we ever arrived at all". Their last mountain climb was up the steep mountains bordering Manicaland. At this stage their sole diet was tea and bovril. One nurse arrived fatigued, worn out, with a temperature of 105 F. She collapsed at once. All they found when they moved on to Fort Hill was a hospital established by the Anglican Church - three dilapidated huts. . The huts had been repaired and enlarged for accommodating the sisters. To-day the same site has been declared a National Monument to those intrepid nurses. Near at hand can be seen a large fig tree growing from the original stump. Near this site the first indaba, between Umtassa, Colquhoun, Selous, Harrison, Campbell and ton police, as previously mentioned, took place, concerning the Mineral Rights at the time of the British occupation.

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An outstanding tribute to the three nurses and the first hospital is portrayed in the National Tapestry presented to the Nation by the Women's Institutes of Rhodesia.

Rhodes himself, up to this stage, had not yet visited Mashonaland, as this district included Manicaland at the time. As a matter of act, he arrived shortly after the nurses made their entry.

We have already heard a great deal in connection with our Founder, Rhodes. What kind of .man was he? Before going further, let us got a glimpse of his life in general and what better account could we have than from his old devoted friend and valet, Mr. John Norris, who assisted him in times of trouble and need for eight years? Mr. Norris declared: "that although he had often assisted Rhodes during this period, and helped him to bed at times, he never saw him worse for liquor". Mr. Norris disputed the woman-hater legend, and also said that there was never a hint of a quarrel between Rhodes and Jameson. Their friendship was unshakable, and although Rhodes criticised many men severely, Mr. Norris never heard him say a word against "Dr. Jim".

What manner of man was Rhodes to work for? Well, there is a saying: 'No man is a hero to his valet'', but to Mr. Norris he was a hero. "Very considerate, if you. worked hard, but not otherwise. If Rhodes disliked anyone he was very unyielding, and it was useless to try and please him. At-times he was very irritable with everyone, but afterwards, made, up for it by added kindness. Speaking of Rhodes' friends, it is very had to give any impression of Rhodes and Jameson as they stood quite alone in their relationship to one another, and Rhodes often said "'Jameson is one, in a million'-. Rhodes was also loyal to Milner." Mr. Norris' reminiscences continued" I place the Prince of Wales first in his regard, Jameson second and Milner third. This loyalty existed until the last year of his life, and of which I had proof during his last visit to Rhodesia, when he spent three days with me at Inyanga and he was annoyed at the Cape elections. He dictated a telegram to me to send, saying he only insisted on them supporting Milner's policy. . Rhodes was not the man to hide his dislikes of any person to me. His likes and dislikes were more often than not extreme; if he really cared for anyone he always overlooked their faults. Thus it was very hard for him, after the Jameson raid, to find his lifelong friend throwing him over. He was so cynical over some that it preyed on his mind to the last."

Mitchell says, "Rhodes liked being, stood up to. I saw Garrett once at the dinner table stand up and tell Rhodes that as long as he was editor of the Cape Times ho intended running it as he thought fit, not as Rhodes wished. Rhodes replied, 'I have no wish to run your paper, I only ask for fair play and the truth'. I believe Garrett wished he had never left his seat and felt worse than a child being spanked." "The question has been put to me hundreds of times, 'Norris, was Rhodes a drunkard?' I am fully qualified to answer this question and to say, No, not. in any sense of the word, for over a period of three months I had to account for all the liquor taken by him. If he was very excited in the evenings he smoked to excess, and suffered for it in the mornings. It was sometimes mistaken for liquor, but normally his smoking was like his drinking, very moderate, and

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irregular. I have often been told that Rhodes hated women. It always puzzles me how it, got about because to the women he knew he was kind and considerate, but to strangers he was inclined to be shy and reserved. Undoubtedly some women got on his nerves and worried him, but I can reply to that by saying, so did a lot of men. I can only say Rhodes was a normal man. Some ladies' company he was very fond of, and enjoyed, and the only reason he objected to having married men about him was that he considered a married man's place was with his wife in their home.

As I left homo at twelve years of age and never slept at home again, my education was very limited. The pains Rhodes took over me were really incredible. In dictating letters and telegrams he had the patience of Job. After a time I was fairly proficient and could take down quite easily fifty words a minute, which no one could read but myself! Two telegrams I always remember taking down and sending off. One was to arrest Siqcase, the Pondo Chief. Before sending it off Rhodes said it was not constitutional, and that the Chief Justice would release him, which he did, and on my asking the reason, he replied 'It will save bloodshed' which it did. The other one was toJameson quoting St. Luke, about a King going to war, in connection with the Matabele murders at Victoria. Both these telegrams were sent after two or three hours of anxious thought. Rhodes come home on both occasions from sitting in Parliament and neither was sent until just on closing time at five o'clock. Michell says he laconically replied to Jameson to read Luke XIXI. 31f. I mention these two cases because, to my mind, they wore two of the most serious decisions he had to make during his life, and to both of which ho gave very serious thought, and no one except myself can record the true facts. His wire to Jameson also proves what a wonderful memory he possessed. On arriving home he asked if I had a Bible and on my saying I had at my home, he sent me to got it and told me to look up in St. Luke where it mentions about a king etc. This took me a considerable time to find, and on my finding it he memorised it word, for word. What was quite easy to me, spelling of simple words, was quite an effort for him, and he always had a very small dictionary to help him when necessary. For this reason very few errors were ever sent to anyone, but at figures he was a perfect marvel, and I cannot remember any occasion of his every taking a pencil and paper to work out any problem on rates, etc. He was a great admirer of Napoleon, and his instructions to me were to buy any book I saw for sale on Napoleon. Once he gave me two volumes on Napoleon to read, and after I had waded through them he asked me what I thought of this famous man. Without thinking I said, 'He seems to me to have been very fond of women and to have suffered with bellyache'. Rhodes, shaving at the time, let out a yell. I thought he had cut himself, but he only remarked that 'he was a wonderful man, but France was no bigger when he died'. He punished mo severely for my criticism of Napoleon. On a visit to Paris he made me accompany him to the Louvre, and stand for hours gazing at pictures Napoleon had taken from all over Europe. This happened not once, but every day for about a week. Rhodes was a much greater admirer of Napoleon than myself. Undoubtedly this was caused through my reading first Napoleon's 'Retreat from Moscow'."

Just before Rhodes arrived in Manicaland for the first time Dr. Hans Sauer wished to join the Salisbury Column, which Jameson was preparing, and which was so unsuccessful. Instead, Jameson had

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asked him to go to Beira and escort Rhodes, who was then on his way from Cape Town, to Manicaland. He accepted the offer, and travelled down from Salisbury to Umtali. He described Umtali as "a pleasant little town growing up under the forests and mountains". Williams had preceded him in a cape cart lent to him by Charles Coghlan. Dr. Hans Sauer had an unusual experience on arrival in Umtali. While transferring himself and his luggage to the door, a long- mained lion appeared and leapt on one of the mules, breaking its neck, and dragging it away in the gathering darkness. At that time lions were so troublesome in Umtali that Colonel Heyman was obliged to parade up and down Main Street, firing a gun with blank charges, every few minutes from dusk till 8.00 p.m. After this everyone remained indoors.

In Umtali Dr, Hans Sauer was hospitably received by George Seymour Fort, Dr. Hans Saure left Umtali and met Rhodes on the road between Beira and Massi-Kessi.

Rhodes arid his party arrived an the boundary of what is now known as the Divide, where there is now a plaque denoting the exact spot where Rhodes entered and which reads:


When he arrived, after climbing the steep mountain side to an altitude of about 4,800 feet, he stood, on the boundary, and for the first time beheld the promised land. At the back of him lay Portuguese East Africa, and the valley, taking in Massi-Kessi fort, which he had traversed. But he was not interested in this - before him was Rhodesia, the focal land point nearest to his heart. Overlooking a lush valley with the Umtali River cascading over a rock and descending a distance of about two hundred feet below, he saw ahead of him the beginning of Rezende and Penhalonga mines, of which he had heard so much. It was a region which was thought to be rich in minerals, especially gold. Beyond, standing up on its own in a valley, is the hill known as Fort Hill, which the Pioneers and the police had occupied and fortified when first entering Manicaland.

Mr. Rhodes came across the renowned cricketer, Mr. M.P. Bowden when trudging along the same track from Beira, with thirty carriers trailing after him. Bowden himself was in very poor condition, weak and spent with malaria. This was not the first time he had travelled to and from Beira on foot, having given up the idea of finding a rich gold mine. Like many others Mr. Bowden had taken to trading, and the only means of replenishing his stocks was to go to Beira himself, returning with carriers loaded with whatever he could obtain, to sell in his store. It necessitated a journey each time of hundreds of miles on foot in a land whore there were no roads, and where the lions and leopards were on the prowl, and the low lying country was often swampy and infested with malaria.

After Mr. Rhodes and Mr. Bowden had met and become acquainted, it was evident Mr. Rhodes respected him for undertaking such a project and presented him with a bottle of whisky stating that "it might help him on his way!" It seems that Mr. D.C. de Watt, evidently in charge of commissariat, was rather displeased as it was the last bottle and rebuked Rhodes for his folly, "Well", was Rhodes1 reply, "poor follow, he certainly was feeling poorly and utterly fatigued, his colour testified to that. However, we still have some old inferior brandy left". This was typical of him, never

Page 20

considering himself and always supporting tho under dog with much needed assistance. He would go out of his way to help those in need. On one occasion ho complained to Mr. Hulley, after handing him his favourite collie dog before leaving Umtali, "I am a poor man, really" he said, "I have to do so much travelling, therefore I have no possessions of my own".

When Bowden overtook Rhodes' party again the following day, Rhodes was very concerned when he saw him, and said "How will you ever reach Umtali?" Bowden just shrugged his shoulders. "Well, in that case" replied Rhodes, "I will give you a horse to help you on your way". Much to de Wett's annoyance Rhodes gave Bowden the pony which he himself had chosen to ride. It was through this generous offer that Bowden did reach (Old) Umtali. Later nurses Blennerhasset and Sleeman stated that Mr. Bowden was the first case they lost in their new hospital at Umtali. This statement has been somewhat repudiated by other writers. The National Roll of the Pioneer Corp B.S.A.P. Company states that Mr. Bowden died in Rhodesia, crushed by a wagon near Umtali, 1892.

When Rhodes and his party arrived in Umtali they found Rhodes outfit ready and waiting for him, being supervised by the faithful Tony, Sir Charles Metcalfe and Lieutenant Sugan (Rhodes' Secretary) were also present. No time was lost in Umtali. Rhodes hustled every- body and seemed anxious to get clear of the town. The party travelled straight on, all of them mounted. Why Rhodes had to go onto another secluded camp after being in such a hurry to leave Umtali at that time was a mystery. It was learned afterwards that he was very worried about Jameson and his raid in South Africa and so was anxiously awaiting news of him. However, when a policeman delivered a letter to Rhodes he immediately left for Salisbury.

End of Chapter

Click Here To Return to Index

Recompiled, by Eddy Norris, from a copy of the booklet made available by Neill Storey. Thanks Neill.

The recompilation was done for no or intended financial gain but rather to record the memories of Rhodesia.

The family of the author have given permission for ORAFs to load this booklet onto the Internet.
Thanks top the family and special thanks to Heather Curran.

Thanks to
Paul Norris for the ISP sponsorship.
Paul Mroz for the image hosting sponsorship.
Robb Ellis for his assistance.

Should you wish to contact Eddy Norris please mail him orafs11@gmail.com


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